A Small But Mighty Woman

We entered the funeral home, all three kids in tow. I felt a bit embarrassed to bring the crazy into such a calm sobriety, but she loved it when we would bring them into her tiny apartment in East Hialeah. She always had little gifts for them, something small she got from the bodega down the street. Even though I was full of anxiety that one of the kids would break something (tiny apartment + lots of tiny porcelain figures and vases + three small children = potential disaster) the smile on her face always put me at ease.

At 98 years old, her passing was no surprise. She had suffered much in her life and she was ready to move on, but this small woman left a big impact.

Of course the family was there to mourn and memorialize her passing, but what struck me more than anything were the other women there. Her hairdresser, her caretakers, all in tears, sharing stories of her kindness, bravery and strong spirit. She did not die with some great title, or having started a movement or even been known by thousands of people, but she lived a truly GREAT life. She made a HUGE impact because of the small acts of love she performed on a daily basis for those close to her.

She made a PROFOUND impression of everyone who knew her, not because she was eloquent or especially fashionable or wealthy or grand, but because of her LOVE.

I want to take notice of more people like Hortensia. The small but mighty who choose to love no matter how much work, no matter how inconvenient, no matter if they feel like it or not. They slip under the radar, un-appreciated by most, no glitz or glamor, but their impact on the world and those around them could not be more profound.

“Do small things with great love.” is a quote by Mother Theresa that I have always been drawn to, but this Monday, in a funeral home in Hialeah, I saw more clearly than ever what that kind of life looks like.

The Beginnings of Our Life of Freedom

The Beginnings of Our Life of Freedom

“Mommy, this is the funnest day ever!” My son looked up at me as we walked toward the Metrorail station. The sun was setting and he had just given a homeless man with a gold tooth a high five. “That man looked like a cowboy!” He told me amazed.

My 4 year old daughter Jasmine yelled excitedly, “An escalator!!” and up we went to catch the train home.

There are days when you work hard, and there are pay days, when you reap the reward of all your hard work and yesterday was one of those days.

My husband and I have hearts filled with wanderlust and before we had kids and were enjoying two incomes we traveled! Costa Rica, New York, Istanbul and various road trips. It’s in our blood.

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Having three kids in under three and a half years was a jolt to our way of living. It was a brand new adventure that was more challenging than we thought, but more rewarding than we could have imagined. Still, we dreamed of travel, exploration and freedom. My husband is a teacher, so we have time – summers, spring break, lots of holidays and his work day ends at 2:30pm every day!! Time is not the problem, but money and energy is.

Before I got healthy, the thought of going anywhere outside of the home with three littles was laughable!! I could barely get mouths fed every day let alone plan trips and outings. If you’ve been following my journey at all you know that this past  year and a half I’ve been making small changes in my health – the greatest of which is the mental shift that I am WORTH investing in and I am going to make my heath a priority, not an afterthought or luxury. At the same time I’ve been working hard at the business side of Beachbody coaching. Basically pouring into others – helping them achieve their dreams, giving them tools to be successful in their own businesses and when I do that, I’ve started to find my own income growing steadily.

Funny thing happened as I started growing as a leader, growing as a business woman, doing things I never thought I could do – I decided to homeschool as well! Something that completely intimidated me and I thought I just couldn’t do became not only an option, but something I love!

Hard work on my health + Hard work on my business + Hard work to become a homeschool mom = Freedom

IMG_2302We spent the entire day yesterday exploring our city – driving down to my husband’s work at 2:30pm, taking the trolley, having a birthday lunch, walking around our beautiful city, catching the train to downtown, seeing the tower my five year old son has been wanting to see for weeks. Exploring new restaurants and seeing the beautiful yachts in the Miami bay.

Not once worrying about work, school or our budget being destroyed by this one outing (like it would have been in the past). IMG_2299

We have big plans and dreams to travel the world with our little ones – I’ve got lots of work to do to get there, but for now, I am over the moon at the glimpse into our future that I got today – exploring, wandering, being in awe, experiencing new things, getting quality time with my littles, valuing experiences over things and being completely FREE to live the life we LOVE.

The suburbian, 9-5, buy a house, then buy a bigger house that you never spend time in, then get a nicer car, but you don’t know your neighbors, or really know your kids, but you have lots of stuff, but you aren’t free – that life is like POISON to us – always has been. But unless you DECIDE you want differently, and WORK for it, and make plans, and take control of your life – you will spend it building someone else’s dream. I guarantee that.

Yes, it takes work, yes it takes sacrifice, but if you can DREAM it – don’t let ANYONE tell you it’s not possible!!!

What do you want to do with your one wild and precious life?

My husband and I want to travel, we want to invest in missions – not just pray for people, but put real money down to support our friends who are missionaries all over the world, we want to teach other men and women how to build a life of financial freedom so that they can do the things they are passionate about rather than work long hours and never have time to invest in what REALLY matters to them.

We want to teach our kids how to be leaders, problem solvers, think independently, not blame employers, society or the government for their problems but take control of their own life. We can only teach this to them if we live it!

It may not come over night, but with hard work, over time there is NOTHING you can’t do. I have believed in this opportunity with Beachbody from day one and seeing the pay day starting to roll in I am even more excited and motivated to share it with others.
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I am currently mentoring women in this lifestyle – teaching them how to build six-figure incomes and a business that can be done anywhere. It is for those who are willing to learn, believe in themselves, grow into leaders and LOVE helping others. If you’d like to learn more about Beachbody coaching and this opportunity, CLICK HERE for my “What is Beachbody Coaching” free group on Facebook.

Fall Wardrobe Planning

This afternoon I am doing one of my absolute favorite things: wardrobe planning.

I do this every season (Fall & Spring) and it’s not because I have all this luxury time to spend browsing Pinterest, or all of this expendable income to shop till I drop – nope, I do it because just like exercising, eating and every other routine in my life, I have to get dressed – EVERY day.

Anything that I have to do every day I have to plan and simplify so that I can do it well. Sound crazy? Just stick with me for a second.

Two years ago I was about to give birth to my third baby with a 1 year old and a 3 year old that I still needed to take care of. I realized right then and there that I needed to simplify EVERY daily routine or be ok with eating fast food, never reading my bible or another book again, walking around with an extra 50lbs of baby weight, and staying in yoga pants and old t-shirts all day.

This is what led me to get plugged in with Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix program – it was a system that was simple and told me EXACTLY what to do!

This is why I have created a routine to my early morning hours – I sit in the same spot at 5:30am every morning and I read.

This is why I plan and prep my meals every weekend.

This is why every season I plan my wardrobe.

You can either simplify and make a plan so that your daily activities are automatic and easy to accomplish, or you can try to re-create the wheel every day, find it to be too difficult (especially when life is super busy) and never make progress in any area of your life and be frustrated all the time. (In all honesty, I’m still frustrated sometimes, but WAY less than before!).

So – onto my fall wardrobe! (the good stuff!)

I stumbled upon Into Mind a few years ago – it is a minimalistic blog written by a fashion blogger in Berlin and I just love it. Even if your style profile isn’t minimalistic you will still benefit from her principals and guidance.

Based on her recommendations I have come up with the following steps when I am ready to re-vamp and plan my wardrobe for the next season. Planning my Fall Wardrobe

1) Use Pinterest to re-define your style.
This is pretty self explanatory. You can search for something as simple as “fall fashion” or as detailed as “minimalistic fall looks in Bordeaux”. If you want to check out my Pinterest board for this Fall you are welcome to! Click Here

2) Choose your color palette.
This is my best kept secret! Each season I decide on one (maybe two) colors that I will be wearing – the rest of my wardrobe is all neutrals. This allows me much more flexibility in mixing and matching pieces. For this fall I am choosing Navy and Bordeaux.

3) Choose your proportions and uniform. 
In order to do this you will need to go to your closet and find the outfit that you love the best! Put it on. What proportions does it have? For me and my body type I love wearing skinny jeans and loose fitting tops, I have an easy going, minimalistic style so that guides my wardrobe. Other women may enjoy a more fitted and tailored look, while still others go even more loose fitting and bohemian. Knowing your “uniform” is a great starting point to structure your wardrobe. (If you are looking for some proportion and uniform examples, Click Here)

4) Inventory and detox your close.
This isn’t as big a project as it was the first time I did this, because now I do this every season and it keeps my close paired down, containing ONLY what I love to wear. I like to take a Sunday afternoon to do this and I literally lay out on the floor all of my tops, pants, skirts, dresses and shoes so I can see them all in a group. Anything that stands out that doesn’t seem to fit with the general look of my wardrobe, I pull aside. Anything I don’t love wearing, or haven’t worn in awhile – I LET IT GO! (I know, it’s hard, but you HAVE to do it!).

Here is Into Mind’s quick guide to wardrobe editing.

This is probably the MOST important part of the entire process (and the most time consuming) but it is VITAL! Also, when you do this, your favorite outfits and pieces will start to show you what your uniform and color pallet should be!

5) Identify gaps and make shopping list.
Once I’ve paired down my wardrobe to ONLY what I love and fits, and isn’t stained, or needing a repair, then I take a look at what’s left and compare it to a basic list of “must haves” for the season. (My favorite list, of course from Into Mind, can be found HERE)

So, there you have it, my 5 steps for wardrobe planning. Of course, if you REALLY dive into the blog and all that she has to offer (which you totally should) you will find ENDLESS resources for how to define your style, how to create a mood board and shop for quality pieces. I highly recommend you do so! It may seem like something trivial and a waste of time, but I can’t tell you how great it feels (and how much less stress I have) to be able to quickly and easily get dressed, EVERY DAY and LOVE the way I look and the outfits I have.

Getting Fit as a Mom is SUPER HARD!

There I’ve said it.
Here are four reasons why.

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IMG_6606Reason 1: You have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn.

Oh! the baby was up five times last night? Surely your pure love of exercise and the motivation for losing those last 20lbs will propel you out of bed! #nevermissamonday

Reason 2: Working out with your kids gets messy and complicated – QUICK

If you somehow weren’t able to get your workout done before the kiddos woke up, just workout with your kids! It’s not hard. Haven’t you seen all those videos on instagram? Just go outside, put one in the stroller and do squats, the other kids will most surely just play nearby (or maybe even join you!) and NEVER run off, or throw rocks at some other kid, or ask you a million times “NOW can we go play at the park?”FullSizeRender

Or do an at home workout, don’t worry about those heavy dangerous weights, I’m sure your kids would never try to pick one up and drop it on their foot – or get in a fight with their sister – or want a drink of water – or need to go to the bathroom.

Or go to a gym with childcare – the amount of time it takes you to get everyone out the door will probably be longer than the time you actually spend at the gym, but totally worth it.

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Why You’re Not a Beachbody Coach…

So maybe you’re perfect for it!

You’re creative. You are passionate. Self motivated. Driven. Smart. Funny. Genuine. You “get” social media.

You love putting together that perfect outfit (even if you rarely have the opportunity to actually get dressed up these days). You’ve been talking about green smoothies for years, your friends know you’re going to try to get them to eat things with ingredients like “maca root”.

You can relate to me and my crazy children-filled life and we would probably be friends in real life if we were around each other in real life. You even know a little bit about Beachbody stuff already. Maybe a friend’s cousin’s ex girlfriend is a coach and you see her talking about it on Facebook.

You buy organic when you can. You want to feel good. You value your health. But you’re also no one to shy away from opening a bottle of wine after a long day and finish that baby off while watching a Scandal marathon (no judging here!). You want to be your own boss. You have it all… the perfect combo to be an rockstar coach on our team. But you aren’t one.

I think I know why…

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Cauliflower Rice

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I’ve heard much about Cauliflower Pizza Crust and to be honest, never tried it because it just looked to complicated and too much work for something that won’t even taste like a pizza crust. Just being honest – I don’t run an instagram account where all of my recipes are 5 ingredients or less for nothing! Life is just a bit too chaotic for me (and full disclosure, I’ve never tried to make Cauliflower pizza crust so maybe it’s super easy).

In contrast, when I saw this recipe for Cauliflower Rice I thought it looked easy enough (ugh, I used to be SUCH  a foodie! Now I judge a recipe by it’s ingredient list and easy scale….what has become of me!!?) so I gave it a try.

My husband made a POINT of telling me MULTIPLE times how good it was and I even served it to some neighbors who loved it. What I love most about it is the ability to make a large quantity and freeze portions of it, or simply keep in the refrigerator to eat all week.

It fills you up like a carb but counts as a veggie (This is a HUGE perk! Where my 21 Day Fixers at?).

Here is the recipe:

1 head of cauliflower
1 small yellow onion
1 clove garlic
Salt
1 lemon
Chop up 1 large head of cauliflower. Put raw cauliflower into a food processor (I had to do this in batches). Pulse until cauliflower looks like small grains of rice (technically it looks more like cous cous to me, but let’s not slip hairs).  Slice 1 small onion and saute in a few tsp of oil until tender and sweet. Add 1 clove of minced garlic to the sauted onion cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the cauliflower rice to the onion and garlic and cook until cauliflower gets tender. Season liberally with salt and fresh lemon juice.

Enjoy!
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My 1 Year Anniversary as a Beachbody Coach

February 9th is a special day for me – for two reasons.

<3 February 9th, 2007 is the day my husband asked me to marry him 🙂

February 9th, 2014 is the day I signed up to be a Beachbody Coach.
With much fear and trembling and a hysterical “what did I just do!?” call to my sister.
With much skepticism from my husband and family – but with a small spark in my heart that this could be something great.

One year later and I have learned and grown SO MUCH.
1 Year as a Coach
I’ve learned about myself – I’ve learned what I’m TRULY capable of. I’ve learned that who I am now doesn’t have to limit my dreams because I can BECOME whoever I chose. I’ve learned the power of a team. I’ve learned the power of having someone believe in you. I’ve learned the joy of helping others accomplish what THEY never thought they could. I’ve learned that no matter how hard some people try to knock me down – I am stronger than all obstacles and success is MY choice.

I’ve learned about business – I’ve learned that being a ‘salesperson’ simply means helping others, and I’m actually pretty good at that. I’ve learned that being a ‘work from home mom’ isn’t an excuse for incompetence. I’ve learned that being successful is synonymous with working your butt off. I’ve learned how to be authentic and caring and true to myself in a sea of social media where spammy – flashy – off-putting ads seems like the ‘easy way out’. I’ve learned the easy way out is never easy or a good way out.

I’ve learned about leadership – I’ve learned that I CAN lead others. I’ve learned that leadership is about authenticity, not telling people what to do. I’ve learned that leadership is about relationship and trust. I’ve learned that leadership means helping others and working your butt off and still getting blamed when things go wrong. I’ve learned that leadership is the hardest thing in the world and takes deep courage.

I don’t say this to boast in any way, but to simply be authentic and honest with you and what this business has done for me. I don’t want to over promise, but I also don’t want you to think this is a small thing that doesn’t bring in much income. I have been able to consistently bring in between $500 – $1300 every month since July (from February to June it was about $300- $500). I have grown my team and my reach by 200% since July and have achieved the rank of Diamond Coach. This is truly just the beginning for me and I plan to at least double my income and reach in 2015.

I am proud of my accomplishments and what those numbers mean for me and my family. But it’s really not about the money or the followers. My biggest joy comes from the lives that I have touched. The stories that I see unraveling before me – women who look at me with tears in their eyes telling me how they have tried everything – and nothing works – and then seeing them lose 15 inches, 10lbs, 25lbs! Hearing the hope in their voice and getting emails from them, thanking me for believing in them, for supporting them and for encouraging them to keep going when they wanted to stop. IMG_4787

That is my biggest and best ‘paycheck’.

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In honor of my 1 year anniversary as a coach I’ve decided, beginning February 9th, to release a full week of videos on my YouTube Channel all about being a work from home mom, what I’ve learned along the way and hopefully some inspiration and tips for you if you aspire to do more than just punch in and out from a job where you aren’t appreciated or valued. This life is TOO short – you were made for something more! I challenge you to be courageous and take control of your life and LIVE on your terms.

Click here and subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss one!

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If you have been curious about coaching and if it might be a good fit for you – I would love to share more about my experience and get to know you . It’s too good of an opportunity to not at least investigate! Message me and we can set up a time to chat.

Why You Should NEVER Give Up on Yourself

Because you were created in the image of God (true story) and He won’t give up on you. (sorry)

Because you will be more miserable giving up on yourself than you will ever be trying to grow. (no matter how many times you try and fail – there’s life in the trying)

Because sometimes not giving up on yourself doesn’t mean trying hard, but taking a break from trying anything and just investing in yourself. Believe you have value and you are worth investing in is the first step. (remember the whole image of God thing?)

Because there is ALWAYS hope.

Because someone in a worse spot that you has risen from the ashes…they were just flesh and blood too.

Because the obstacles in your life can be your excuse or part of your story.

Because deep down you KNOW the story is not over. (you know that right?)

Because there is a community of deep souled, not afraid of messy lives, don’t have their shit together, sisters who are there for you. (what is this magical group I’m talking about? Oh, that’s just my Stronger Together team!)

Because life is hard, but YOU, you are strong.

(These are all things I tell myself when I am tempted to give up…works in progress? always)

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Insanity Max:30 Review (and why you should do hard things this year)

I come across a lot of inspirational and fitness quotes in my line of work. I mean A LOT of them. They are all really good and many times, when I just feel like bumming around an surfing the web and Pinterest instead of exercising, I go to my “Strong Body” Pinterest page and scroll through some of the quotes and it NEVER fails to get me up off the couch and pushing play on my workout DVD.

But the other day I came across a quote that I just LOVED more than all the rest:
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It completely sums up my views on health and fitness. NO it’s not easy! NO there is no magic pill (or wrap)! YES it will be hard work and you aren’t going to want to do it. (Am I winning you over yet! haha) BUT, being unhealthy is harder. Not having energy and trying to be a mom of three crazy kids is harder. Dealing with disease and prescription medications and a future that is limited by your physical abilities is harder. Exercise is 30 minutes of ‘hard’. Disease is years of hard.

Don’t stop because it’s hard – realize that YOU have the power to chose your ‘hard’ and make your decision wisely.

I have been doing a program called Insanity Max:30 for the past two weeks. The results from the test group were amazing, and of course, I wanted to get a body like that too! What you don’t see in the before and after pictures is all the sweat, and sore muscles and crazy work that it takes!

It hasn’t been an easy program, but having accountability has REALLY gotten me to push through.

So, you may be wondering: “What is Insanity Max:30? What makes it Insane? Why would anyone want to do this?”

Insanity Max:30 is the newest home workout program from Shaun T (the creator of the original Insanity workout).
It is an intense and challenging 30 minute workout program that combines body weight exercise (like squats, lunges, tuck jumps, pushups, etc.) and cardio to really push your body. The premise of the workout is to push as hard as you can for as long as you can without pausing or modifying. When you “Max Out” and have to take a breather – you write down that time. It is your goal to max out as early as possible, and then the next time you do it, go a little bit longer. It’s really a mind game, trying to push your body and not give up.

There is an option to lock your screen on the modifier (which is still a great workout, but less intense) and extra workouts to focus on your abs.

I actually look forward to working out (and dread it at the same time!) because I want to see when I’m going to max out – I want to see if I’ve improved, and if I can push a little longer. The competitor in me LOVES to go a little bit further every time.

This program is a game changer because REAL change in your body comes when you get to your ‘limit’ and push a little further. You can do more in 2-3 reps at the very end of the set, than you do in the 30 that you did to get there. Hitting your max out moment and deciding in your mind to keep going is what it takes to see improvement – and that’s what this program trains you to do!

I’ve really loved it – makes me feel like an athlete, strong and kicks my butt all at the same time!

I have a group starting on January 5th for ALL Beachbody workout programs – including Insanity Max:30 and if you are looking for a challenge, or even if Insanity Max:30 sounds a little too much for you, but you would like to work your way up to it, it is part of my job (and my joy!) to help you find the right program for YOU.

Send me a message if you are interested in joining us – the deadline is December 29th, so you still have time!

Let’s make 2015 a year where we push ourselves to the MAX and surprise ourselves with what we could accomplish!